Female Disruptors: How Chaya Krinsky of TOV is Shaking Up the Furniture Industry
I’d like to see more people give young girls who don’t have the college experience a chance to get into the workforce at the same pace and level of responsibility. When we hire, we don’t ask for credentials. It’s irrelevant to us. I believe when given the right tools and training, anyone can make a difference or be great at what they do. College shouldn’t be a must to get an interview! What we want to see is passion for what you do or want to do in life!
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chaya Krinsky.
Chaya Krinsky, CEO of TOV, has a keen understanding of what the millennial shopper wants. Chaya saw a gap in the market for stylish and affordable furniture and worked to provide chic, fashion-inspired pieces by examining runway trends. Previously a pre-school teacher, Chaya’s love of interior design brought her into the furniture space where she has changed what it looks like to be a woman in this male-dominated industry. When she isn’t shaking up the world of furniture, Chaya loves spending time with her three daughters and seeing Broadway shows.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Chaya! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It’s hard to believe that before TOV I was a pre-school teacher for ten years! My husband, Bruce, was working in the furniture industry, which at the time was a new venture for him as he was previously in real estate. It didn’t take long for Bruce to discover a void in the market for stylish furniture at great prices. I’ve always been passionate about interior design and sourcing chic furniture was one of my favorite hobbies, so I knew this would be a venture I would love. We finally made the decision that I would join Bruce as co-CEO.
We decided to take TOV to a whole new place with a focused brand message geared towards women. Right away consumers responded and wanted more of this new, female-focused direction! It was exhilarating.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
TOV is shaking things up A LOT!
Our business is unique within the furniture space because we don’t just have female employees in the office or in the warehouse. From design and marketing to production and shipping, our furniture is FOR women, BY women!
We also have an amazing initiative going on in Saudi Arabia. This is usually an area rooted in a strong tradition, but we’ve broken into their market with our female-focused message, something that has never been done before in the Middle East!
The consumers are actually very young in Saudi Arabia so the Al Rugaib team came to us wanting something much more modern, fashion-forward, and relevant for their customers. Right after our initial meeting, they knew we were a perfect fit!
The previous bans on women’s rights being lifted really launched this whole project. It sparked a lot of creativity within women who wanted more color and personal expression from their decor. What’s even more incredible is that this amazing woman, Alanood, is spearheading this entire project. We are quite literally making history!
Next, we’re providing stylish pieces at affordable price points. Before TOV, if you wanted something really stylish and chic for your home, you had to save up for months or even years. We’re able to provide luxury quality at great price points so women can design their dream homes.
Lastly, we’re paving the way for young women who want to get into this industry. It’s been quite unattainable in the past as the furniture industry is so male-dominated, but women are often the ones making decisions about the home and decor — women should be in these positions designing, executing, and more!
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Believe it or not, our biggest mentors and friends are the President of Ashley Furniture, Kerry Levinsburg, and his wife, Judy. They have a lifetime of experience in this industry and they are incredibly supportive. We bounce a lot of questions and ideas off of them!
We all believe in community over competition. A lot of the industry is family-run so “trade secrets” are often passed between father and son. It’s almost unheard of to not have ties through family in the furniture business! People will ask me, “Who started TOV, was it your father or grandfather?” When we say we started TOV people are always shocked by that answer!
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
First and foremost, our motto is, “You get what you inspect.” We have to provide the best quality at the best price! When the furniture arrives, you can’t just expect that it’s going to be in perfect shape. You have to have someone with a keen eye inspect each piece thoroughly!
Second, “Communication is key!” In the early stages of running this business, someone told me that the only way to work with family is to communicate openly. You have to be as open as possible, regardless of whether or not it’s uncomfortable to say what’s on your mind!
Finally, “When hiring, hire someone you would want to work for.” I always look for this. The applicant might not necessarily have that “boss” quality, but it’s so much easier to vet your applicants if you try to imagine yourself working for them!
How are you going to shake things up next?
We’re opening our first showroom in the UK! We also plan to continue expanding to countries that haven’t seen feminine furniture like ours. We are excited to go global so we can offer these insanely beautiful pieces all over the world!
We have definitely been targeting countries that are male-dominated in the furniture world and where women don’t have as big of a voice such as Romania, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. We even get approached by people in Africa wanting our furniture! It’s insane!
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
People always answer with a big public speaker or talk, but I am a big fan of Nas Daily’s “That’s One Minute” on Facebook. He gives these quick, brief newscasts where he introduces beautiful people and news from around the world, usually areas you don’t know or hear much about. Listening to him really inspires me. He reminds me that what we are doing isn’t just about furniture — it’s about connecting women around the world.
Also, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincro is great, especially when you’re feeling down!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’d like to see more people give young girls who don’t have the college experience a chance to get into the workforce at the same pace and level of responsibility.
When we hire, we don’t ask for credentials. It’s irrelevant to us. I believe when given the right tools and training, anyone can make a difference or be great at what they do. College shouldn’t be a must to get an interview! What we want to see is passion for what you do or want to do in life!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
If it doesn’t work the first time, try and try again! If you’re told no, are up against a brick wall, or feel like you can’t accomplish something, you just have to keep trying. It might be a curvy path to get there, but there is always a way to reach your goal.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can find us at www.tovfurniture.com and on Instagram & TikTok at @tovfurniture!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!